Chui Ker (Hokkien) or Woon Chai Koh (in Cantonese) is rice flour cake steamed in metal cups or bowls. The rice pudding is then topped up with ‘Chai Por’.
The toppings of Chai Por is preserved and fried radish (lobak) chopped into bits with sesame oil and soy sauce added. Chili sauce is optional.
It is takeaway or street food that should be eaten on the wax paper it comes wrapped in.
The exact recipe varies. Some use shallots or turnip, some add dried shrimps (heh bi) while others soak the toppings in a special oil concoction.
For the rice flour, some mix it with potato flour to enhance the texture and smoothness.
As such, chui kueh from different stalls never taste the same and the satisfaction varies greatly. If you find a good hawker selling it, pray it stays.
It is a dying traditional Chinese breakfast snack and is not as easy to find these days. Chui Ker is more popular in neighbouring Singapore where it is spelled and pronounced as chwee kueh.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 800, f14, 1/80 sec.
I like this gooey and fragrant dessert served chilled. Contained in a banana leaf boat, the kuih is made from coconut milk and rice flour. The top is creamy and a bit salty while the bottom is sweet pandan-flavoured green.
There is condensation on the surface because I just took it out of the refrigerator.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1600, f11, 1/60 sec.
Saw this roadside stall at Ulu Slim on a wet evening. It was operated by a makcik trio. One makcik was too shy and declined to be photographed. Below is our conversation translated into English from Malay (for the benefit of international followers).
Me: Is that your house behind, makcik?
They: Yes. And do you know why we are selling food in front of our humble kampung house?
Me: So that you don’t have to use that shiny new car (wrapped up) to transport the food elsewhere?
They: OMG! Hahaha. No! So we don’t have to pay rent like those selling at the Ramadan bazaar in town. True or not?
Before I can answer they burst out laughing themselves. We started chatting like friends, talking about the cost of trading and life in the kampung. Love their great sense of humour and gregarious personality.
Since they were closing up, I bought almost all the remaining kuih for only RM 5. Yes, their overheads are lower and it is reflected in the price.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 125, f4, 1/60 sec.